“I know who you are,” she said. “Your name is Bernie Rhodenbarr. You’re a burglar.”
I glanced around, glad that the store was empty save for the two of us. It often is, but I’m not usually glad about it.
“Was,” I said.
“Was. Past tense. I had a criminal past, and while I’d as soon keep it a secret I can’t deny it. But I’m an antiquarian bookseller now, Miss Uh-”
“Danahy,” she supplied. “Holly Danahy.”
“Miss Danahy. A dealer in the wisdom of the ages. The errors of my youth are to be regretted, even deplored, but they’re over and done with.”
She gazed thoughtfully at me. She was a lovely creature, slender, pert, bright of eye and inquisitive of nose, and she wore a tailored suit and flowing bow tie that made her look at once yieldingly feminine and as coolly competent as a Luger.
“I think you’re lying,” she said. “I certainly hope so. Because an antiquarian bookseller is no good at all to me. What I need is a burglar.”
“I wish I could help you.”
“You can.” She laid a cool-fingered hand on mine. “It’s almost closing time. Why don’t you lock up? I’ll buy you a drink and tell you how you can qualify for an all-expenses-paid trip to Memphis. And possibly a whole lot more.”
“You’re not trying to sell me a time-share in a thriving lakeside resort community, are you?”
“Then what have I got to lose? The thing is, I usually have a drink after work with-”
“Carolyn Kaiser,” she cut in. “Your best friend, she washes dogs two doors down the street at the Poodle Factory. You can call her and cancel.”
My turn to gaze thoughtfully. “You seem to know a lot about me,” I said.
“Sweetie,” she said, “that’s my job.”
“I’m a reporter,” she said. “For the Weekly Galaxy. If you don’t know the paper, you must never get to the supermarket.”
“I know it,” I said. “But I have to admit I’m not what you’d call one of your regular readers.”
“Well, I should hope not, Bernie. Our readers move their lips when they think. Our readers write letters in crayon because they’re not allowed to have anything sharp. Our readers make the Enquirer’s readers look like Rhodes scholars. Our readers, face it, are D-U-M.”
“Then why would they want to know about me?”
“They wouldn’t, unless an extraterrestrial made you pregnant. That happen to you?”
“No, but Bigfoot ate my car.”
She shook her head. “We already did that story. Last August, I think it was. The car was an AMC Gremlin with a hundred and ninety-two thousand miles on it.”
“I suppose its time had come.”
“That’s what the owner said. He’s got a new BMW now, thanks to the Galaxy. He can’t spell it, but he can drive it like crazy.”
I looked at her over the brim of my glass. “If you don’t want to write about me,” I said, “what do you need me for?”
“Ah, Bernie,” she said. “Bernie the burglar. Sweetie pie, you’re my ticket to Elvis.”
“The best possible picture,” I told Carolyn, “would be a shot of Elvis in his coffin. The Galaxy loves shots like that but in this case it would be counterproductive in the long run, because it might kill their big story, the one they run month after month.”
“Which is that he’s still alive.”
“Right. Now the second-best possible picture, and better for their purposes overall, would be a shot of him alive, singing ‘Love Me Tender’ to a visitor from another planet. They get a chance at that picture every couple of days, and it’s always some Elvis impersonator. Do you know how many full-time professional Elvis Presley impersonators there are in America today?”
“Neither do I, but I have a feeling Holly Danahy could probably supply a figure, and that it would be an impressive one. Anyway, the third-best possible picture, and the one she seems to want almost more than life itself, is a shot of the King’s bedroom.”
“That’s the one. Six thousand people visit Graceland every day. Two million of them walked through it last year.”
“And none of them brought a camera?”
“Don’t ask me how many cameras they brought, or how many rolls of film they shot. Or how many souvenir ashtrays and paintings on black velvet they bought and took home with them. But how many of them got above the first floor?”
“None. Nobody gets to go upstairs at Graceland. The staff isn’t allowed up there, and people who’ve worked there for years have never set foot above the ground floor. And you can’t bribe your way up there, either, according to Holly, and she knows because she tried, and she had all the Galaxy’s resources to play with. Two million people a year go to Graceland, and they’d all love to know what it looks like upstairs, and the Weekly Galaxy would just love to show them.”
“Enter a burglar.”
“That’s it. That’s Holly’s masterstroke, the one designed to win her a bonus and a promotion. Enter an expert at illegal entry, i.e., a burglar. Le burglar, c’est moi. Name your price, she told me.”
“And what did you tell her?”
“Twenty-five thousand dollars. You know why? All I could think of was that it sounded like a job for Nick Velvet. You remember him, the thief in the Ed Hoch stories who’ll only steal worthless objects.” I sighed. “When I think of all the worthless objects I’ve stolen over the years, and never once has anyone offered to pay me a fee of twenty-five grand for my troubles. Anyway, that was the price that popped into my head, so I tried it out on her. And she didn’t even try to haggle.”
“I think Nick Velvet raised his rates,” Carolyn said. “I think his price went up in the last story or two.”
I shook my head. “You see what happens? You fall behind on your reading and it costs you money.”
Holly and I flew first class from JFK to Memphis. The meal was still airline food, but the seats were so comfortable and the stewardess so attentive that I kept forgetting this.
“At the Weekly Galaxy,” Holly said, sipping an after-dinner something-or-other, “everything’s first class. Except the paper itself, of course.”
We got our luggage, and a hotel courtesy car whisked us to the Howard Johnson’s on Elvis Presley Boulevard, where we had adjoining rooms reserved. I was just about unpacked when Holly knocked on the door separating the two rooms. I unlocked it for her and she came in carrying a bottle of scotch and a full ice bucket.
“I wanted to stay at the Peabody,” she said. “That’s the great old downtown hotel and it’s supposed to be wonderful, but here we’re only a couple of blocks from Graceland, and I thought it would be more convenient.”
“Makes sense,” I agreed.
“But I wanted to see the ducks,” she said. She explained that ducks were the symbol of the Peabody, or the mascot, or something. Every day the hotel’s guests could watch the hotel’s ducks waddle across the red carpet to the fountain in the middle of the lobby.
“Tell me something,” she said. “How does a guy like you get into a business like this?”
“Get real, honey. How’d you get to be a burglar? Not for the edification of our readers, because they couldn’t care less. But to satisfy my own curiosity.”
I sipped a drink while I told her the story of my misspent life, or as much of it as I felt like telling. She heard me out and put away four stiff scotches in the process, but if they had any effect on her I couldn’t see it.
“And how about you?” I said after a while. “How did a nice girl like you-”
“Oh, Gawd,” she said. “We’ll save that for another evening, okay?” And then she was in my arms, smelling and feeling better than a body had a right to, and just as quickly she was out of them again and on her way to the door.
“You don’t have to go,” I said.
“Ah, but I do, Bernie. We’ve got a big day tomorrow. We’re going to see Elvis, remember?”
She took the scotch with her. I poured out what remained of my own drink, finished unpacking, took a shower. I got into bed, and after fifteen or twenty minutes I got up and tried the door between our two rooms, but she had locked it on her side. I went back to bed.
Our tour guide’s name was Stacy. She wore the standard Graceland uniform, a blue-and-white-striped shirt over navy chinos, and she looked like someone who’d been unable to decide whether to become a stewardess or a cheerleader. Cleverly, she’d chosen a job that combined both professions.
“There were generally a dozen guests crowded around this dining table,” she told us. “Dinner was served nightly between nine and ten p.m., and Elvis always sat right there at the head of the table. Not because he was head of the family but because it gave him the best view of the big color TV. Now that’s one of fourteen TV sets here at Graceland, so you know how much Elvis liked to watch TV.”
“Was that the regular china?” someone wanted to know.
“Yes, ma’am, and the name of the pattern is Buckingham. Isn’t it pretty?”
I could run down the whole tour for you, but what’s the point? Either you’ve been there yourself or you’re planning to go or you don’t care, and at the rate people are signing up for the tours, I don’t think there are many of you in the last group. Elvis was a good pool player, and his favorite game was rotation. Elvis ate his breakfast in the Jungle Room, off a cypress coffee table. Elvis’s own favorite singer was Dean Martin. Elvis liked peacocks, and at one time over a dozen of them roamed the grounds of Graceland. Then they started eating the paint off the cars, which Elvis liked even more than he liked peacocks, so he donated them to the Memphis Zoo. The peacocks, not the cars.
There was a gold rope across the mirrored staircase, and what looked like an electric eye a couple of stairs up. “We don’t allow tourists into the upstairs,” our guide chirped. “Remember, Graceland is a private home and Elvis’s aunt Miss Delta Biggs still lives here. Now I can tell you what’s upstairs. Elvis’s bedroom is located directly above the living room and music room. His office is also upstairs, and there’s Lisa Marie’s bedroom, and dressing rooms and bathrooms as well.”
“And does his aunt live up there?” someone asked.
“No, sir. She lives downstairs, through that door over to your left. None of us have ever been upstairs. Nobody goes there anymore.”
“I bet he’s up there now,” Holly said. “In a La-Z-Boy with his feet up, eating one of his famous peanut-butter and banana sandwiches and watching three television sets at once.”
“And listening to Dean Martin,” I said. “What do you really think?”
“What do I really think? I think he’s down in Paraguay playing three-handed pinochle with James Dean and Adolf Hitler. Did you know that Hitler masterminded Argentina’s invasion of the Falkland Islands? We ran that story but it didn’t do as well as we hoped.”
“Your readers didn’t remember Hitler?”
“Hitler was no problem for them. But they didn’t know what the Falklands were. Seriously, where do I think Elvis is? I think he’s in the grave we just looked at, surrounded by his nearest and dearest. Unfortu-nately, ‘Elvis Still Dead’ is not a headline that sells papers.”
“I guess not.”
We were back in my room at the Hojo, eating a lunch Holly had ordered from room service. It reminded me of our in-flight meal the day before, luxurious but not terribly good.
“Well,” she said brightly, “have you figured out how we’re going to get in?”
“You saw the place,” I said. “They’ve got gates and guards and alarm systems everywhere. I don’t know what’s upstairs, but it’s a more closely guarded secret than Zsa Zsa Gabor’s true age.”
“That’d be easy to find out,” Holly said. “We could just hire somebody to marry her.”
“Graceland is impregnable,” I went on, hoping we could drop the analogy right there. “It’s almost as bad as Fort Knox.”
Her face fell. “I was sure you could find a way in.”
“Maybe I can.”
“For one. Not for two. It’d be too risky for you, and you don’t have the skills for it. Could you shinny down a gutterspout?”
“If I had to.”
“Well, you won’t have to, because you won’t be going in.” I paused for thought. “You’d have a lot of work to do,” I said. “On the outside, coordinating things.”
“I can handle it.”
“And there would be expenses, plenty of them.”
“I’d need a camera that can take pictures in full dark. I can’t risk a flash.”
“That’s easy. We can handle that.”
“I’ll need to rent a helicopter, and I’ll have to pay the pilot enough to guarantee his silence.”
“I’ll need a diversion. Something fairly dramatic.”
“I can create a diversion. With all the resources of the Galaxy at my disposal, I could divert a river.”
“That shouldn’t be necessary. But all of this is going to cost money.” “Money,” she said, “is no object.”
“So you’re a friend of Carolyn’s,” Lucian Leeds said. “She’s wonderful, isn’t she? You know, she and I are the next-closest thing to blood kin.”
“A former lover of hers and a former lover of mine were brother and sister. Well, sister and brother, actually. So that makes Carolyn my something-in-law, doesn’t it?”
“I guess it must.”
“Of course,” he said, “by the same token, I must be related to half the known world. Still, I’m real fond of our Carolyn. And if I can help you-”
I told him what I needed. Lucian Leeds was an interior decorator and a dealer in art and antiques. “Of course I’ve been to Graceland,” he said. “Probably a dozen times, because whenever a friend or relative visits that’s where one has to take them. It’s an experience that somehow never palls.”
“I don’t suppose you’ve ever been on the second floor.”
“No, nor have I been presented at court. Of the two, I suppose I’d prefer the second floor at Graceland. One can’t help wondering, can one?” He closed his eyes, concentrating. “My imagination is beginning to work,” he announced.
“Give it free rein.”
“I know just the house, too. It’s off Route 51 across the state line, just this side of Hernando, Mississippi. Oh, and I know someone with an Egyptian piece that would be perfect. How soon would everything have to be ready?”
“Impossible. The day after tomorrow is barely possible. Just barely. I really ought to have a week to do it right.”
“Well, do it as right as you can.”
“I’ll need trucks and schleppers, of course. I’ll have rental charges to pay, of course, and I’ll have to give something to the old girl who owns the house. First I’ll have to sweet-talk her, but there’ll have to be something tangible in it for her as well, I’m afraid. But all of this is going to cost you money.”
That had a familiar ring to it. I almost got caught up in the rhythm of it and told him money was no object, but I managed to restrain myself. If money wasn’t the object, what was I doing in Memphis?
“Here’s the camera,” Holly said. “It’s all loaded with infrared film. No flash, and you can take pictures with it at the bottom of a coal mine.”
“That’s good,” I said, “because that’s probably where I’ll wind up if they catch me. We’ll do it the day after tomorrow. Today’s what, Wednesday? I’ll go in Friday.”
“I should be able to give you a terrific diversion.”
“I hope so,” I said. “I’ll probably need it.”
Thursday morning I found my helicopter pilot. “Yeah, I could do it,” he said. “Cost you two hundred dollars, though.”
“I’ll give you five hundred.”
He shook his head. “One thing I never do,” he said, “is get to haggling over prices. I said two hundred, and-wait a darn minute.”
“Take all the time you need.”
“You weren’t haggling me down,” he said. “You were haggling me up. I never heard tell of such a thing.”
“I’m willing to pay extra,” I said, “so that you’ll tell people the right story afterward. If anybody asks.”
“What do you want me to tell ’em?”
“That somebody you never met before in your life paid you to fly over Graceland, hover over the mansion, lower your rope ladder, raise the ladder, and then fly away.”
He thought about this for a full minute. “But that’s what you said you wanted me to do,” he said.
“So you’re fixing to pay me an extra three hundred dollars just to tell people the truth.”
“If anybody should ask.”
“You figure they will?”
“They might,” I said. “It would be best if you said it in such a way that they thought you were lying.”
“Nothing to it,” he said. “Nobody ever believes a word I say. I’m a pretty honest guy, but I guess I don’t look it.”
“You don’t,” I said. “That’s why I picked you.”
That night Holly and I dressed up and took a cab downtown to the Peabody. The restaurant there was named Dux, and they had canard aux cerises on the menu, but it seemed curiously sacrilegious to have it there. We both ordered the blackened redfish. She had two dry Rob Roys first, most of the dinner wine, and a Stinger afterward. I had a Bloody Mary for openers, and my after-dinner drink was a cup of coffee. I felt like a cheap date.
Afterward we went back to my room and she worked on the scotch while we discussed strategy. From time to time she would put her drink down and kiss me, but as soon as things threatened to get interesting she’d draw away and cross her legs and pick up her pencil and notepad and reach for her drink.
“You’re a tease,” I said.
“I am not,” she insisted. “But I want to, you know, save it.”
“For the wedding?”
“For the celebration. After we get the pictures, after we carry the day. You’ll be the conquering hero and I’ll throw roses at your feet.”
“And myself. I figured we could take a suite at the Peabody and never leave the room except to see the ducks. You know, we never did see the ducks do their famous walk. Can’t you just picture them waddling across the red carpet and quacking their heads off?”
“Can’t you just picture what they go through cleaning that carpet?”
She pretended not to have heard me. “I’m glad we didn’t have duckling,” she said. “It would have seemed cannibalistic.” She fixed her eyes on me. She’d had enough booze to induce coma in a six-hundred-pound gorilla, but her eyes looked as clear as ever. “Actually,” she said, “I’m very strongly attracted to you, Bernie. But I want to wait. You can understand that, can’t you?”
“I could,” I said gravely, “if I knew I was coming back.”
“What do you mean?”
“It would be great to be the conquering hero,” I said, “and find you and the roses at my feet, but suppose I come home on my shield instead? I could get killed out there.”
“Are you serious?”
“Think of me as a kid who enlisted the day after Pearl Harbor, Holly. And you’re his girlfriend, asking him to wait until the war’s over. Holly, what if that kid doesn’t come home? What if he leaves his bones bleaching on some little hellhole in the South Pacific?”
“Oh my God,” she said. “I never thought of that.” She put down her pencil and notebook. “You’re right, dammit. I am a tease. I’m worse than that.” She uncrossed her legs. “I’m thoughtless and heartless. Oh, Bernie!”
“There, there,” I said.
Graceland closes every evening at six. At precisely five-thirty Friday afternoon, a girl named Moira Beth Calloway detached herself from her tour group. “I’m coming, Elvis!” she cried, and she lowered her head and ran full speed for the staircase. She was over the gold rope and on the sixth step before the first guard laid a hand on her.
Bells rang, sirens squealed, and all hell broke loose. “Elvis is calling me,” Moira Beth insisted, her eyes rolling wildly. “He needs me, he wants me, he loves me tender. Get your hands off me. Elvis! I’m coming, Elvis!”
ID in Moira Beth’s purse supplied her name and indicated that she was seventeen years old, and a student at Mount St. Joseph Academy in Millington, Tennessee. This was not strictly true, in that she was actually twenty-two years old, a member of Actors Equity, and a resident of Brooklyn Heights. Her name was not Moira Beth Calloway, either. It was (and still is) Rona Jellicoe. I think it may have been something else in the dim dark past before it became Rona Jellicoe, but who cares?
While a variety of people, many of them wearing navy chinos and blue-and-white-striped shirts, did what they could to calm down Moira Beth, a middle-aged couple in the Pool Room went into their act. “Air!” the man cried, clutching at his throat. “Air! I can’t breathe!” And he fell down, flailing at the wall, where Stacy had told us some 750 yards of pleated fabric had been installed.
“Help him,” cried his wife. “He can’t breathe! He’s dying! He needs air!” And she ran to the nearest window and heaved it open, setting off whatever alarms hadn’t already been shrieking over Moira Beth’s assault on the staircase.
Meanwhile, in the TV room, done in the exact shades of yellow and blue used in Cub Scout uniforms, a gray squirrel had raced across the rug and was now perched on top of the jukebox. “Look at that awful squirrel!” a woman was screaming. “Somebody get that squirrel! He’s gonna kill us all!”
Her fear would have been harder to credit if people had known that the poor rodent had entered Graceland in her handbag, and that she’d been able to release it without being seen because of the commotion in the other room. Her fear was contagious, though, and the people who caught it weren’t putting on an act.
In the Jungle Room, where Elvis’s Moody Blue album had actually been recorded, a woman fainted. She’d been hired to do just that, but other unpaid fainters were dropping like flies all over the mansion. And, while all of this activity was hitting its absolute peak, a helicopter made its noisy way through the sky over Graceland, hovering for several long minutes over the roof.
The security staff at Graceland couldn’t have been better. Almost immediately two men emerged from a shed carrying an extension ladder, and in no time at all they had it propped against the side of the building. One of them held it while the other scrambled up it to the roof.
By the time he got there, the helicopter was going pocketa-pocketa-pocketa, and disappearing off to the west. The security man raced around the roof but didn’t see anyone. Within the next ten minutes, two others joined him on the roof and searched it thoroughly. They found a tennis sneaker, but that was all they found.
At a quarter to five the next morning I let myself into my room at the Howard Johnson’s and knocked on the door to Holly’s room. There was no response. I knocked again, louder, then gave up and used the phone. I could hear it ringing in her room, but evidently she couldn’t.
So I used the skills God gave me and opened her door. She was sprawled out on the bed, with her clothes scattered where she had flung them. The trail of clothing began at the scotch bottle on top of the television set. The set was on, and some guy with a sport jacket and an Ipana smile was explaining how you could get cash advances on your credit cards and buy penny stocks, an enterprise that struck me as a lot riskier than burglarizing mansions by helicopter.
Holly didn’t want to wake up, but when I got past the veil of sleep she came to as if transistorized. One moment she was comatose and the next she was sitting up, eyes bright, an expectant look on her face. “Well?” she demanded.
“I shot the whole roll.”
“You got in.”
“And you got out.”
“And you got the pictures.” She clapped her hands, giddy with glee. “I knew it,” she said. “I was a positive genius to think of you. Oh, they ought to give me a bonus, a raise, a promotion, oh, I bet I get a company Cadillac next year instead of a lousy Chevy, oh, I’m on a roll, Bernie, I swear I’m on a roll!”
“You’re limping,” she said. “Why are you limping? Because you’ve only got one shoe on, that’s why. What happened to your other shoe?”
“I lost it on the roof.”
“God,” she said. She got off the bed and began picking up her clothes from the floor and putting them on, following the trail back to the scotch bottle, which evidently had one drink left in it. “Ahhhh,” she said, putting it down empty. “You know, when I saw them race up the ladder I thought you were finished. How did you get away from them?”
“It wasn’t easy.”
“I bet. And you managed to get down onto the second floor? And into his bedroom? What’s it like?”
“I don’t know.”
“You don’t know7. Weren’t you in there?”
“Not until it was pitch-dark. I hid in a hall closet and locked myself in. They gave the place a pretty thorough search but nobody had a key to the closet. I don’t think there is one, I locked it by picking it. I let myself out somewhere around two in the morning and found my way into the bedroom. There was enough light to keep from bumping into things but not enough to tell what it was I wasn’t bumping into. I just walked around pointing the camera and shooting.”
She wanted more details, but I don’t think she paid very much attention to them. I was in the middle of a sentence when she picked up the phone and made a plane reservation to Miami.
“They’ve got me on a ten-twenty flight,” she said. “I’ll get these right into the office and we’ll get a check out to you as soon as they’re developed. What’s the matter?”
“I don’t think I want a check,” I said. “And I don’t want to give you the film without getting paid.”
“Oh, come on,” she said. “You can trust us, for God’s sake.”
“Why don’t you trust me instead?”
“You mean pay you without seeing what we’re paying for? Bernie, you’re a burglar. How can I trust you?”
“You’re the Weekly Galaxy,” I said. “Nobody can trust you.”
“You’ve got a point,” she said.
“We’ll get the film developed here,” I said. “I’m sure there are some good commercial photo labs in Memphis and that they can handle infrared film. First you’ll call your office and have them wire cash here or set up an interbank transfer, and as soon as you see what’s on the film you can hand over the money. You can even fax them one of the prints first to get approval, if you think that’ll make a difference.”
“Oh, they’ll love that,” she said. “My boss loves it when I fax him stuff.”
“And that’s what happened,” I told Carolyn. “The pictures came out really beautifully. I don’t know how Lucian Leeds turned up all those Egyptian pieces, but they looked great next to the 1940s Wurlitzer jukebox and the seven-foot statue of Mickey Mouse. I thought Holly was going to die of happiness when she realized the thing next to Mickey was a sarcophagus. She couldn’t decide which tack to take-that he’s mummified and they’re keeping him in it or he’s alive and really weird and uses it for a bed.”
“Maybe they can have a reader poll. Call a nine hundred number and vote.”
“You wouldn’t believe how loud helicopters are when you’re inside them. I just dropped the ladder and pulled it back in again. And tossed an extra sneaker on the roof.”
“And wore its mate when you saw Holly.”
“Yeah, I thought a little verisimilitude wouldn’t hurt. The chopper pilot dropped me back at the hangar and I caught a ride down to the Burrell house in Mississippi, I walked around the room Lucian decorated for the occasion, admired everything, then turned out all the lights and took my pictures. They’ll be running the best ones in the Galaxy.”
“And you got paid.”
“Twenty-five grand, and everybody’s happy, and I didn’t cheat anybody or steal anything. The Galaxy got some great pictures that’ll sell a lot of copies of their horrible paper. The readers get a peek at a room no one has ever seen before.”
“And the folks at Graceland?”
“They get a good security drill,” I said. “Holly created a peach of a diversion to hide my entering the building. What it hid, of course, was my not entering the building, and that fact should stay hidden forever. Most of the Graceland people have never seen Elvis’s bedroom, so they’ll think the photos are legit. The few who know better will just figure my pictures didn’t come out, or that they weren’t exciting enough so the Galaxy decided to run fakes instead. Everybody with any sense figures the whole paper’s a fake anyway, so what difference does it make?”
“Was Holly a fake?”
“Not really. I’d say she’s an authentic specimen of what she is. Of course her little fantasy about a hot weekend watching the ducks blew away with the morning mist. All she wanted to do was get back to Florida and collect her bonus.”
“So it’s just as well you got your bonus ahead of time. You’ll hear from her again the next time the Galaxy needs a burglar.”
“Well, I’d do it again,” I said. “My mother was always hoping I’d go into journalism. I wouldn’t have waited so long if I’d known it would be so much fun.”
“Yeah,” she said.
“What’s the matter?”
“Come on. What is it?”
“Oh, I don’t know. I just wish, you know, that you’d gone in there and got the real pictures. He could be in there, Bern. I mean, why else would they make such a big thing out of keeping people out of there? Did you ever stop to ask yourself that?”
“I know,” she said. “You think I’m nuts. But there are a lot of people like me, Bern.”
“It’s a good thing,” I told her. “Where would the Galaxy be without you?”